*turn back your biological clock

Spring Tune Up

Went for first real bike ride yesterday…interesting. At my tender age, the start of a new season – and the return to a sport not engaged in recently  followed – Will the wheels come off this time? Not off the bicycle, off me. The pleasant answer: not this trip. We do a 20 mile loop, over rolling hills (several 7% grade and two of 11%, which is very steep). The splendid news: nothing hurts. Not joints or muscles. And there is not much strain, aerobically. In fact, my actual max heart rate goes to 161 (on the steepest hill). That’s fine. And my recovery rate is 41, which is terrific. The best formula for maximum heart rate (208 minus 70% of my age or 56) would predict a max for a man of 80 of 152. The lousy and much more popular formula (220 minus my age) would give a max of 140, which is nonsense (NEVER use that formula, which you see in almost every gym in the country). I strongly suspect that – as I get deeper into biking over the spring – my actual  heart rate max will turn out to be about 165, which is dandy.

Harry says that most people in their 80’s (I turn 80 in September) hurt just about every place, just about all the time. That squares with my casual observation of my peer. The fact, for example, that I don’t have a bad back is a near miracle. Ditto the sore hip, knees and so on.  Most old boys my age couldn’t have done this ride at all.  If they had, they would not have been able to ride up the steeper hills and they would hurt like blazes. So, am I some amazing specimen? Alas, no.
Far from it. What I am is a poor athlete who does work out almost every day.  And that is that. Modest Moral: It is stark staring CRAZY not to work out six days a week, especially after fifty, to say nothing of 70. There you go.

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Chris Crowley


  1. Don C Knaute, Jr

    I would like to take a 2-3 week bicycle trip but cant find any roads that have bike paths where I can ride safely?

    Anyone know of a book with bike path information?

  2. Marty Mathis

    Great. Now I know who to draft on those 11% hills.

  3. Jim Graves

    Alas, I do have back problems and sore knees, but at 78 I can still function pretty well thanks to decent diet and 6 days a week in the gym. Spouse and I are off to central Europe for 3 weeks on Thursday.

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